BDC board members posed questions to the candidates and then opened it for audience Q&A. Topics covered include homelessness, transportation, affordable housing, parks, criminal justice reform, public health, and more.
Following are minute marks for various topics to help people zero in on specific candidate responses:
0:00 BDC President Tom Friedman gives brief overview of King County government scope/budget
3:00 Candidate opening statements
9:25 Seattle has 30% of the county’s population, but 70% of the county’s homeless people. What would you propose and support to geographically broaden services so public safety and health burdens are not concentrated so heavily in urban areas like Seattle, and specifically Ballard? How do we approach as a more county-wide effort?
14:27 King County is building modular housing on Elliott Ave, which has faced delays in opening on schedule. Given the state of emergency and available budget, is modular housing an appropriate option? What do you recommend for taking things to scale and acting more urgently?
18:10 How should the county respond to RV parking for those whose home is the RV? Is sleeping in vehicles a good strategy for the county to pursue (vs providing an indoor bed with vehicle parking outside)?
21:35 Re: light rail to Ballard, what is your position on a tunnel and underground station near 20th and Mkt St vs an overhead connection to a surface station east of 15 NW?
26:33 About 5 years ago Metro eliminated all off-peak bus service up and down 32NW, resulting in NO bus service midday, nights, and weekends. This has left the Sunset Hill neighborhood with no access to the public transit system other than in peak hours weekday. Similarly residents along Seaview Ave do not have ANY access to public transit. Yet residents in these areas continue to pay transit taxes. What would you propose to provide access to these residents to public transit?
31:55 follow-up on Sunset Hill / Seaview routes (reroute 40 bus? subsidized Uber/Lyft vouchers to connect to route access points?)
34:15 Part of the crux of the issue is how do city, county, state, federal government cooperate so we actually get affordable housing. Also there is a cycle where the city needs more taxes so it encourages property development to get the taxes, which leaves us with less affordable housing. How can the County work with the City to assure a better housing mix?
40:46 In August, King County voters overwhelmingly approved an $810 million parks levy. What is your vision for using that money?
45:14 Last week city businesses released a report that criticized the city for not prosecuting repeat offenders for misdemeanors and minor felonies. This is likely also an issue in the county. What’s your vision for how the county can better respond to this repeat offender issue?
49:27 As our criminal justice system reforms and non-traditional programs like LEAD continue to expand, how can the county provide better public reporting and accountability on local impacts and outcomes?
53:05 What’s your position on sanctioning Safe Consumption sites in the county? If you support them, would you me amenable to locating them outside of Seattle, in other areas of the County?
56:24. Have you looked into how Snohomish Co. is approaching this issue?
1:00:18 Pea patch & green space question
1:04:16 Center City Streetcar (funding priorities) question
THANK YOU to everyone who attended the D6 city council candidate forum at the National Nordic Museum, co-hosted with Ballard Alliance and moderated by Enrique Cerna. We had a great crowd of about 200 people.
Following a brief opening statement from candidates, moderator Enrique Cerna posed the following questions to the candidates.
What’s your vision for the City? Do you think the City Council is currently on the right track or do you think we need a different approach to city government?
What are your thoughts about deteriorating infrastructure such as pipes, bridges, roads, sidewalks, given the enormous growth and density in this city and, in particular, Ballard and Crown Hill?
Regarding light rail to Ballard: there are several proposed routes and station alternatives that are currently slated for study in the forthcoming Environmental Impact Study (EIS). A new tunneled route is being evaluated by Sound Transit staff that would terminate underground near 20th Ave NW and Market Street. Do you think all this alternative should be studied in the EIS?
In July, The Ballard Alliance and the District Council were copied on a letter from a District 6 company – Impact Bio Energy – that was addressed to the Mayor and City Council with the subject line: “Street Crime too Much for our Company.” The letter indicated the company will be moving their green energy business out of Seattle due to vandalism, theft, drug use and lack of support from the city to deal with those problems. They received no response. How would you respond to this company and others who are considering moving out of the City for these same reasons? (Copy of Letter to Mayor and City Council July 18 2019)
In recent years, Ballard has become a hub of services to help address issues of homelessness, addiction and mental illness, yet police response times in Ballard continue to greatly lag compared to the rest of the city. What is your solution to improve response times, public safety resourcing and accountability?
Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best has said she is struggling to keep police officers and recruit new officers. She says one of the problems is a lack of support from the city council. What will you do to help the chief and the department?
As you know, the Ballard Alliance and several neighborhood business groups released a report which highlighted systemic failures within the municipal criminal justice system, including significant increases the number of cases declined by the City Attorney’s Office; an average of a 6 months delay to file new cases; and a high number of cases that are dismissed without meaningful resolution. If you were currently serving on Council and received this report, what action would you take?
The 9th District Federal Court ruled that it’s illegal to prohibit camping if there’s no place for people to go. Last summer some members of the King County Board of Health advocated for FEMA-style shelters with cots, water, food, outhouses, emergency showers, and centralized treatment opportunities to get everyone inside for the winter. It went nowhere politically. Is this something you would be willing to support and propose to the city council?
Earlier this year, the City began enforcing established policy that prohibits obstructions or encampments located on public-rights-of-way, such as sidewalks, public spaces and in City Parks. Would you stop this policy, keep it as is, or expand it to more areas? How should the City respond to people who repeatedly refuse available services?
How should the City respond to the RV problem in District 6?
The City Council recently passed land use legislation that allows up to 3 separate dwelling units on a 3,200 sq. ft. single family lot. There is no longer a requirement for off-street parking nor is the property owner required to live in one of the units. Many long-term residents have expressed concerns that this policy caters to developers and would, over time, lead to significant changes to single-family neighborhoods. Do you agree with these latest zoning changes or would you propose some modifications? What would you modify?
This week city council passed new renter protection legislation, including a law that allows tenants to house additional roommates or family members, “if consistent with the unit’s occupancy limits.” This limits the landlords’ ability to manage which adults occupy a property, regardless of background or rental history. How would you have voted on this specific legislation and why?
Neighborhoods/ District 6
We’ve now been through one full 4-year cycle of City Council District terms. There are many who feel – including District 6 residents – that their neighborhood is not being adequately represented by their Councilmember in city hall. Do you agree? And if so, what would you do differently if elected?
What is the biggest issue that differentiates you a) from your opponent, and b) from the incumbent?
Do you live in or visit Seaview Avenue, Sunset Hill, or Golden Gardens Park in Ballard? Please take this survey from King County Metro Transit, Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle Parks and Recreation, and Port of Seattle.
Thanks to Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles and local transportation advocates, these agencies are considering mobility improvements for the far western stretches of Ballard, including Golden Gardens Beach and the Shilshole Marina area.
From Councilmember Kohl-Welles:
Over the past two years, I’ve convened a series of meetings between Shilshole residents and King County Metro, and now Metro is launching a community connections pilot in this area.
Much of the Seaview Avenue and Sunset Hill area west of 28th Ave NW is cut-off from frequent all-day fixed route bus service. Residents and visitors in this area have identified a need for improved mobility options between downtown Ballard and Golden Gardens.
If you live in or visit the Seaview/Sunset Hill mobility needs area, participate in a short survey to help determine what concepts will be moving forward.
Additionally, we are working on a great line-up of meeting topics for November, December, and into 2020. Stay tuned for those announcements as fall unfolds. Ballard District Council meets monthly on the 2nd Wednesday evening of each month.
If you live or work in the greater Ballard area, join us and invite others to participate in Ballard District Council! Don’t miss out on neighborhood civics — community engagement, discussions, and information sharing.
Primary ballots are due back by Tuesday, August 6. Odd year elections typically have lower turnout, when local measures and municipal level positions are up for election. Given all the growth, changes, and challenges our neighborhood and city are experiencing, don’t ignore your summer mail — spend some time reading, listening, and learning about the options on your ballot. Encourage other community members to participate in local democracy, too!
Our July meeting included three different agenda items, with the main portion of the meeting devoted to an update from Rep. Gael Tarleton regarding the Interbay Public Development Advisory Committee, followed by updates on the Ballard P Patch and the Our Redeemer’s Safe Parking Pilot.
The meeting ended with our annual ice cream social. We appreciated new community members who joined us and hope Ballardites will continue to spread the word that all are welcome at our civic meetings. (Reminder: no August meeting. We’ll be back in September.)
Public Meeting – Tuesday July 23, at Interbay Armory (1601 W. Armory Way), 9am
Open House – Tuesday, July 30, at Ballard VFW Hall (2812 NW Market St), 6pm
The 25-acre Washington National Guard armory site in Interbay was built in 1974 and is currently used as a readiness center. Due to transportation and congestion issues, it is insufficient for current requirements and the Guard has been working toward relocating.
“In 2018, under enacted SSB 6095, Section 1004 (10), the Department of Commerce was tasked by the Legislature to explore potential future uses of the Interbay Property located in Seattle’s Ballard-Interbay manufacturing industrial center that is currently used as a readiness center by the Washington National Guard (Guard).
The Governor and Legislature appointed members of the Interbay Public Development Advisory Committee to advise and help identify potential future uses of the state-owned site. Assuming the Guard is able to relocate, the Advisory Committee will help guide the redevelopment process with the goal of recommending a use that maximizes public benefit.”
Notes from Rep. Tarleton’s Presentation:
Interbay has contiguous properties of: state, port, city, county, school district, Sound Transit, and private property owners
The Interbay corridor (Holman Road > Ballard Bridge > East Marginal Way) is a freight corridor for the state (secondary to Hwy 99, which is secondary to I-5)
Every state, federal, and local agency has a stake in whether the freight corridor works
Almost no one in Olympia “knows what Interbay is” so she is working hard on this
State legislature budget proviso created an advisory committee to determine:
How to help the Guard move if they want to
What does the federal government say?
What happens if the Guard moves and the 25 acres comes available (Gov Gary Locke was previously approached by a Chinese developer with strong interest in the property; he recognized this wasn’t in the public interest – need to determine what is if Guard leaves)
Area involves complex interactions between transit, rail, shipping, cruise lines, etc.
It is industrial land but very mixed zoning
She is very focused on governing what comes next:
Retaining public interest in future use
Has to serve “maximum public benefit compatible with industrial lands”
No current public development authority (e.g., NW Seaport Alliance) is sufficient for this, so advisory committee formed
There is no current plan to redevelop the property. They are examining: What are some options? What is the community saying? City? County? Federal government? Port? Private property owners? Metro? Sound Transit? Gathering input and perspective.
Current best estimate from the Guard – IF the state can finance purchase of North Bend property – is a move in 2025.That is the soonest this might happen. “Everyone can take a breath.” We should put this time to best use.
A lot depends on the U.S. Army approving plans, design, purchase, etc.
2025-2030 is the time frame that things will really happen
Question: Why is the army moving? Answer: they’ve been trying to for about 15 years. Since the Nisqually quake. They’ve been planning, doing environmental cleanup, looking for land, weathering economic recessions and guard deployments. In 2011-2012 state budget cycle, it finally started to seem possible. (Traffic/transportation congestion are factors in current location not being ideal.)
Question: Are you talking with Seattle Public Schools about having 3-5 acres for a school to serve Magnolia and Queen Anne? Answer: The school district has been coming to meetings and should come to the July 23 meeting. Note that it is a liquefaction/fill site, so not all options are possible. The public meeting will be 3.5 hours, with 30 minutes for public comment (9am – noon meeting, with 12-12:30 for comments).
Question: Given all the disparate interests, who is the decision maker? Answer: The state owns the property. A 7-member committee will receive recommendations from a consultant and decide: will the legislature help the Guard move or not? If they do move, need to set up a governing body. That is who will make decisions (along with the legislature appropriating funding).
Question: In determining the “greatest public good,” what metrics are they using? Answer: Qualitative and quantitative. Determining what are the categories of public interest at stake. Examining highest market value, geographical constraints, … articulated in strategic plan. Might do a competition with university students (urban planning, transit with livability, etc.)
Question: Is there a railroad siding to the east to serve the Guard property? Answer: might be; let’s look.
Questions: Does development have to be in the manufacturing realm? Possible for light manufacturing? Answer: Mix of light industrial, tech industrial, etc. City zoning is an interesting thing. Part of this project is educating ourselves and the agencies involved. What is the economy of manufacturing and ship building today as opposed to the past? Clean energy revolution to take into account, etc.
Question: will existing buildings be repurposed? Answer: Not likely. They are old and not suited for it. (Reiterated that no development will happen prior to 2025.)
The meeting had two additional agenda items:
Ballard P Patch –– There was a brief presentation from a member of the group trying to save the Ballard P Patch, located at 25th NW and NW 86th. The property is owned by the adjacent Our Redeemers Lutheran Church, and they have been offered $1.8 mil for the property from a developer, who would build 4 houses in the property. So the P Patch group needs to raise $1.8 mil to purchase the property, from individuals or grants from public or private organizations.
Shared from Thomas Whittemore at Seattle Department of Neighborhoods — Monday, July 8, is the Rob Mattson Way Celebration. Seattle Department of Transportation will be installing Rob Mattson Way honorary street signs @ 22nd Ave NW and NW 56th/57th Streets, by the Ballard Library. Rob worked for the City for over 40 years, much of it as a Ballard District Coordinator for the Department of Neighborhoods, part of the former “Little City Hall” program.
DATE: July 8th
TIME: 5:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Next to the Ballard Customer Service Center at 22nd Ave NW and NW 56th St.
Mike Stewart (Ballard Alliance Executive Director) will be facilitating the event @ 5:30 p.m. A few guests and family members will speak in honor of Rob Mattson.
The unveiling of the Rob Mattson Way signs will take place at 6 p.m.
We hope you can join us for the lovely event and raise a glass of sparkling cider in a toast to Rob!
Thank you to Leif Erikson Hall in Seattle Washington and others who supported this effort (https://www.facebook.com/LEHallSeattle/photos/a.1600455023308057/2051517951535093/?type=3&theater)
Our July agenda includes a visit from State Representative Gael Tarleton, to update us on the Interbay Armory project, and will end with our annual ice cream social. Additional agenda items include an update on efforts to save the Ballard P Patch, the expansion of the Safe Parking Program at Our Redeemers, and a quick introduction from King County Council candidate Abigail Doerr.